Category: Made in Canada

Meet the Maker – Lost Book

Journaling has always been a great way to calm your mind, release stress and just keep memories intact. Sure there are some great mass produced journals out there but have you ever seen a beautifully handcrafted journal? Allow me to introduce you to Eve and her Business – Lost Book.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m a mom of three older children, and married to my love.

I have always loved books, reading, and writing. I would stay up late and sneak-read my latest novel (usually fantasy fiction). Now my teens do the same! In school, I found nothing more exhilarating than a stack of blank paper with which to pour out creativity. I like that I can recreate that for others.

Where did your business idea come from?

I’ve journaled since I was 13. It was really hard to find creative journals with covers that inspired! I started recovering my journals. Then I wanted pages to match the covers, so I learned how to bind. And since you can only keep so many….

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I think my love of books and fantasy shows up on my journal covers and pens. I love to upcycled objects and add small fitting details to my work. The mystery/adventure kits involve my love of storytelling in an involving and creative way. I also love how things are done in the old days. This the quill and inks were a great, applicable edition to our store.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

I have always struggled with this. Many times I’ve not gotten the balance right. I’ve even tried to stop crafting but I’ve realized that it’s part of who I am. My kids are teens now making it easier to manage my time, but they still need me and so does my hubby. I try to set designated times to focus on them. I take breaks from crafting and tackle housework. I take days off for fun times with them. They in turn try to involve themselves more in my crafting too: they come to shows, help me load items, listen to me obsess about the whole process, and love me in spite of me.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

I think I’m still learning it, haha! Creating is natural, but the business end of things is harder. It’s like having two jobs: one to make things and one to sell them. I like them both, actually. I especially like the one on one interaction with customers at shows.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

I get new ideas everywhere! Trying to keep up with them is the problem. Customers give me new ideas, found objects inspire new thoughts, yesteryear and it’s fascinating gadgets, nature, and need. Once I made journals, I needed to write in them. I was dissatisfied with the random pens in the house to write in my nice journal, so I created new lines of pens: the bead pen, the metal pen, the different styles of feather pens, and the authentic quill and ink.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

My journals take anywhere from 1.5 hours on up. The classic book journals usually take 1 hour whereas the metal journals (made from upcycled pop cans) can take 2-3 hours or more. Sometimes the creative ideas come quickly and other times, it takes a while to get the creative juices flowing.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

Many! Particular journals and pens, but especially the metal journals-the colours!

What is the story behind your business name?

I dreamed that I was in an old bookshop, desperately looking for one specific book (which I had no idea what it was-I’d know it once I saw it). Finally, I found it! It was the last and rare and tattered copy of the Bible. Definitely a lost book in our society and a treasure beyond compare.

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

The metal journal:

  1. Find an upcycled book cover in the color I desire. Cut out the pages (these are also upcycled).
  2. Tape the inside binding.
  3. Select, wash out, and cut a pop can to lay flat. Choose a design to emboss. Either emboss by machine or by hand.
  4. Color the metal with inks, embossing powders, paint.
  5. Glue metal to cover, add book corners, details.
  6. Print pages, sew, glue. Cut pages to size. Add book bands (those colored fibers on the ends of the book binding), add ribbon bookmark.
  7. Glue into book with end pages, add details. Sometimes I guild the page edges and distress the book edges.
  8. Add business sticker and price tag.
  9. Photograph and list online.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I am slowly talking over our basement! I have 4 work tables, and a sewing/printing room. I hope to turn the third room into a small shop to sell locally. In my studio, creativity= mess. I usually spend the first few minutes of my day reorganizing before diving back into it.

My top tools are scissors, my utility knife, my embossing machine, and my paper stack cutter.

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I receive some custom orders which the customer has much freedom to input. I do have a knack for fitting a product to the client, though and appreciate it when clients value my creative input as well.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Yes, but not enough. I often snag a journal or pen when I need it but rarely just make one for me. I make other things in the house like handmade soap (yes, we crafters are usually creative in multiple fields!).

Do you have a favourite designer? Who is it and why?

Most of the designs that catch my eye are eclectic. Tim Holtz of the scrapbooking world has great style. Another inspiring artist is Tammy Kushnir who published The Elemental Journal.

Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

The hardest thing to overcome is your own despair/discouragement. Look at what things are selling on the market today. Some of them are crap! And they’re selling! If they can do it, then there’s no reason that your beautiful creative ideas can’t sell even better!

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My best-selling item are my creative journals. These are journals made from upcycled book covers and found objects to make a whole new look. I believe these are most popular both for the new finished lol but also for the creative ways old objects are used (a broken earring and piece of metal, a shell and beach glass). There’s also nostalgia attached with these objects.

Are you managing wholesale accounts and attending markets alongside your direct sales? If so, how do you balance your work day?

I’m not currently doing wholesale but I am attendant markets. Truth be told, you can only direct your focus one way, fully. So during market season, my online shop slows down a bit. My hope is to generate enough business via shows that I can do mostly online business in the future.

Do you have a home studio or do you work at another location?

I work at home. It can be distracting some days, but honestly I need to be distracted out of myself and my work. I can be entirely too focused, haha!

Do you have other hobbies?

Writing (I’ve got one fantasy fiction manuscript done and an working on the sequel), knitting, spinning yarn….

Do you do this full time? If not, how do you balance your day?

I consider it a flexible full time. I have chronic pain that prohibits me from work outside of the home, so here I can manage my time around my health and my family’s needs.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

Lack of startup funds, having to dig up info on how to sell online (no money for all those advertising to make you rich online!).

What do you hope to accomplish in the next year? No limits! Where would you like your business to go?

My hopes are to be able to make more sales online, repeat sales, newsletter. I’m hoping to do more shows next year and streamline that whole process. It would be lovely to be more publicly and locally recognised, for sure. Also, I hope to have my in house store, up and running.

Red or White?

Red! All that I do creatively involves colours: bright vivid colors. I think I’m part magpie or something, lol.

Come visit Eve at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or pop by and give her social channels some love!

Etsy: www.LostBook.etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thelostbooks
Instagram: @the_lost_book

Meet the Maker – Blue Lake & Rocky Shore

Looking for comfy cozy home decor? Look no further than the nearest “Blue Lake & Rocky Shore” 😉 Read on to learn all about Jillian and her company…

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I live in Richmond Hill, Ontario with my husband, two kids and two dogs. Before I had my children, I worked in the IT field in downtown Toronto. After becoming a mother, I decided that I really didn’t want to return to that career, with the commute and the long hours. I started really getting into sewing many years ago, and decided that I’d like to try and make a living doing what I love. I initially started doing alterations for people in my neighbourhood, but soon decided that I needed a better creative outlet. After coming up with many design ideas for decor products, I decided to take the plunge and start making my own designs to sell to others.

I grew up on a lake in Northern Ontario, and as a result, am continually inspired by the landscape of the Great Canadian Shield. I love creating items that remind of me the outdoors and of being at the cottage (or “camp” for us Sudburians!) I’ve lived in Southern Ontario for many years now, but I still like creating items that remind me of home.

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

Working out of my home has been great in allowing me to be available to my kids when they’re not in school. I can set my own hours and work when it’s convenient for me. My kids are older now – 18 and 14, so it’s not the kind of hands-on parenting that younger children require, but I still want to be here for them. Before my daughter got her driver’s license, it was great to be able to chauffeur her and my son to all of their after school activities. If I’d been working a typical 9-5 job, that wouldn’t have been possible. This business has allowed me a lot of flexibility, for which I’m grateful.

My daughter is set to move away for school in September, but my son will still be here and I feel very lucky that I can be around when he gets home from school every day.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I think my favourite item would have to be the Lumberjack Pillow Cover. It’s red and black buffalo plaid flannel, and it’s made to look like a buttoned-up flannel shirt. The buttons have moose on them, for an even more outdoorsy look. I called it the Lumberjack because the flannel shirt look reminded me of what a lumberjack might wear to chop down trees. Because it’s flannel, it’s soft and cozy, just like a good flannel shirt should be.

What is the story behind your business name?

My business name, Blue Lake & Rocky Shore, comes from a line in an old Canadian classic song, called, “Land of the Silver Birch.”

The song goes as follows:

Land of the silver birch

Home of the beaver

Where still the mighty moose wanders at will

Blue lake and rocky shore

I will return once more…

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

I keep a sketch book handy and I am constantly drawing pictures of the ideas that pop into my head. Usually when I get a new idea, I’ll spend some time drawing different versions of it, until I find one that I think will work. Then I make a prototype. Sometimes I’ll have fabric already that works for what I want to make. Otherwise I’ll get what I need and start cutting and sewing. Sometimes I think I’ll be making one thing, and then during the process, I change it into something else. Maybe I was going to make a 14″ x 14″ square pillow, but then I decide to make a bolster instead. How long it takes entirely depends of how intricate the design is. Products with appliqués take much longer than those without. Once I’ve finished sewing, I’ll decide if it needs anything else – trim or buttons or some other detail. Once I’m satisfied with how it looks, I make note of the design elements and keep all of these in a pattern file on my computer.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

My work space used to be a combination of my kitchen and dining room. I used to keep all of my materials upstairs in my master bedroom and my current projects spread out on my dining room table. I would haul my sewing machine into my kitchen each day to work. Needless to say, this was not very convenient!

Last fall, we had our basement finished and I now have a whole big section of it as a dedicated work space. I turned the unused space under the stairs into a closet where I store pillow forms and shelves of fabrics. It’s great to be able to close the door and not have all of that clutter out in the open. I have a sewing table, and big storage hutch and a nice, big cutting table. Most days I’m down in my studio working, listening to music or podcasts (true crime are my faves!) It’s such a pleasure to have this space to work in.

My top tool is of course my sewing machine! I also love my rotary cutter and mat. They make straight cuts a breeze.

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I receive many custom orders and clients typically have as much input as they’d like. I recently made new couch cushions for someone’s cottage, and she chose the fabric herself. Sometimes people will ask me to make a personalized blanket for a baby or child, and other than telling me the child’s name, they leave the design up to me. Or sometimes they’ll give me an idea as to the room’s theme, or something the child really likes, and then I’ll take it from there.

I’ve also made a few memory quilts. In those cases, the clients handed over their items and didn’t see them again until the quilt was complete. I think they liked the surprise.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

I try to sneak in a few projects for myself once in awhile. I used to make clothes for myself pretty regularly, but I’m too busy for that now. Being tall, it was great for me to be able to make things that actually fit me properly. Usually if I have a little time for a personal project, it’ll end up being something for one of my children. One tradition we have is that I make them pyjamas every year for Christmas.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m a swimmer and have been swimming with the Richmond Hill Masters for the past 14 years. Not only is it a great workout, but we’re a very social group and I’ve made amazing friendships with my fellow swimmers. I am also an avid reader and have belonged to a book club for the past 13 years. As much as I love reading, it’s really the other women in the book club that make it so much fun. My favourite thing to do on a Friday night is to binge watch whatever series I’m currently into on Netflix. I especially like the Nordic noir shows from countries like Sweden and Denmark. I also love British mysteries – whether in television or book form.

And of course spending time with my family is number one!

Trail hike or lake swim?

Definitely lake swim! I had the wonderful privilege of growing up on a beautiful lake in the city of Sudbury, called Long Lake. Every day in the summer I was in the lake, swimming with friends. We had a peddle boat that my best friend and I would take on adventures down the lake. In winter, my father would shovel a huge rink on it and flood it with the hose to make it smooth for skating. We’d also snowmobile and cross-country ski on Long Lake. My bedroom faced the lake and at night, I’d fall asleep to the sounds of the water. I can’t imagine a better place to live than on a lake. Trail hikes are nice, but lake swims are the best!

Come meet Jillian at our Made in Canada Market on September 23, or check her out online at

Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/BlueLakeRockyShore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Lake-Rocky-Shore-552639408267681/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blue_lake_and_rocky_shore/

Meet the Maker – 9 Senses

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am a down to earth person. Nature, is one of the most meaningful things to me. When I connect to nature, I am alive and inspired.

Where did your business idea come from?

I started 9Senses in 2015 to share my passion for products that comfort the body and mind.

I’m a mother of two beautiful girls who inspire me everyday. One of my daughters as it so happens is on the Autism spectrum and is a sensory seeker, meaning she is very sensitive to stimulation from her environment.

To help her, I spent countless hours learning to make natural, soothing products that she would find comforting. I started with handmade soaps, and then branched out into other bath and body products.

Like many other entrepreneurs, 9Senses started as a part-time passion project. However, I’ve found that many other people in my community of Maple, Ontario (and beyond!) enjoy my products and I’m now fortunate enough to make 9Senses my full-time life’s work.

Family is very important to me. That’s why it’s such a joy that my two daughters and husband work alongside me to build 9Senses into a values-driven business that touches the lives of more and more people every year.

How does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I am a people person. Love to meet new people, hear about their stories.

I do connect with parents about their everyday difficulties. I get such a good sense of accomplishment when parents share how much help their kids get from my weighted items.

If I contribute to make a positive difference on these kids life’s my day is great. Working always to make a smile at the time.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

Learning about the best markets to go to. Reaching people who appreciates handmade and natural products. Making a lot of items for inventory on the slow down time. There is always room for improvement. Test and retest all items.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

In addition to providing quality bath and body products, 9Senses sells products that strive to improve the quality of life of young people on the Autistic spectrum. These include weighted sensory therapy products such as blankets and lap pads.

My goal is to make these available to children who need them and to make a positive difference in their lives. From every sale of sensory therapy products, I will donate 5% of the proceeds to Autism York Region Chapter.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

My work space is a bit tight now. As I am growing I decided that is time to renew my basement and make it 9Senses studio only.

From an industrial and regular sewing to 2 big assembling tables lots of shelf’s for supplies I do need more room to fully use my time.

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My charcoal soap has been my best seller for the past year. Charcoal is very popular these days and people loves the results of the soap bar.

9Senses Flaxseed & Lavender heat-able neck pillows are always a good seller as well. Nowadays everybody has the need to relax and support for that neck and shoulder tension.

Also my weighted items are starting to be very popular. More and more people are coming to buy or just get my information to share with their families or friends. Sadly but more and more families are affected by autism everyday.

A vacation relaxing on the beach, or exploring the local culture?

At the moment I would love a relaxing vacation on a white sand beach with my family.

Nothing relaxing me better than the sound of the sea the turquoise of the water, the sun. All of that is a great source of inspiration as well.

You can find Mila’s calming creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23 or visit her social channels!

Etsy: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/9senses

Facebook: www.facebook.com/9senses.ca

Instagram: www.instagram.com/9senses

Meet the Maker – BK Inspired

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am a work-at-home mom of two boys with a wonderfully supportive husband. I’ve been creative my whole life but fell into the belief that a living couldn’t be made from the arts so I tried my hand at many other jobs. None of them really stuck so I am happy to have this opportunity to be home for my kids and do what I love. I am proud to say one of my pieces was published in Pyrography magazine last year!

Can you describe your process and how long it takes to produce a piece?

There are several steps for creating my pieces. The first step is usually creating the design or image that will go on the wood. Most of this is done by hand and some is done on the computer. The next step is making sure the wood is prepared by cutting it to size and then sanding it. Sanding is important to ensure a nice, smooth surface for an even burn. I then transfer the design onto the wood with graphite paper. The next step, the burning, is the most fun! Then, depending on the piece, a finish is applied to the wood to seal it. Most bookmarks don’t take too long and I can get several done in one day. Other, larger or more detailed pieces, like lazy susan’s, clocks, or signs can take a couple of days to complete.

Describe your work-space and what your top tools are.

I wish I had a dedicated work space but unfortunately there are several spaces I use throughout the house to do my work. The garage is where I do the cutting and most of the major sanding. The designing, drawing, and burning is done in the living room, so I am still part of the family if I’m working when they’re home. Product shots are taken in another room that has the best natural lighting. Light sanding, assembly, and applying finish is done in a workroom in the basement. This room is where I store my wood pieces, both unfinished and finished and where I package pieces for shipping. Some days I can be seen moving between all the floors of the house to get the work done.

I have a couple of burning machines. They use tools with attachments called pens. Each pen has a different tip that heats up and allows me to create different looks, texture and shading in my work.

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

Yes! I love doing special orders. Customers have great ideas and creativity and it can be a lot of fun to work with them on their project. I do as much back and forth with clients as they need to get it just the way they want it. Many special requests have become some of my favourite pieces and it’s nice to know the piece I have created means something to them and will be treasured for years to come.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

No, not for myself. But I do make things for my family. I created a special clock to celebrate my husband’s 10th work anniversary, and a medieval growth chart, and bookmarks for my kids. I do have one piece on my wall that was originally for sale in my Etsy shop but I loved it too much to let it go. So, in a way, I guess I did make that one for me.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

When I discovered and started wood burning there were no classes available and very few books on the subject. I knew nothing about it and learned by trying and experimenting on my own. I later joined groups on Etsy and Facebook and learned by observing what other artists were doing and talking with them about techniques and burning in general. There is constantly something new to learn or a different technique to try so I will always be growing in this craft.

Find Maya’s burnt masterpieces at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can follow her social channels online!

Etsy: www.bkinspired.etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bkinspired
Instagram: @mayabki

Meet the Maker – Amanda Brittin

If you’re in the market for an inspiring and beautiful piece of jewellery, Amanda Brittin is your go-to! Read on to find out more about Amanda and how she comes up with her creations..

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I work with hammer and torch to create hand-forged rustic sterling silver, bronze and gemstone jewelry. With a background in Anthropology and Archaeology, I am very influenced by the jewelry pieces that have been excavated from ancient Roman and Viking sites and this has been the source of inspiration for my recent “Unearthed” series of bronze and silver work.

Although I no longer work in Archaeology, I still occasionally design and install museum exhibitions!

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

Form and function are very important to me! When I go about my day to day life, the pieces of art that I enjoy the most are the things that I “use”, the functional things that are handmade and beautiful and I can enjoy as more than just a piece of art on the wall. I love my visual art too, but I get the most pleasure out of things that I can actually use; things like my hand-thrown tea pot, my funky mosaic toothbrush holder and my lovely hand-made bird feeders. Over my years as an artisan making a big variety of artwork, from floorcloths to mosaics, concrete sculpture to jewelry, this has always been the thing that informed my work – make stuff that is useful and beautiful, whether it is personal adornment or a mat in front of a kitchen sink.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

One of the more challenging aspects of business is to keep on top of business development. I may make beautiful jewelry, but unless I can get it out there in the public eye, no one will appreciate it and sales will not happen. Keeping up with daily activity in social media and maintaining frequent contact with clients has been something that I have had to become quite disciplined with. I have noticed that when I am really busy with other things and don’t keep up with my Etsy listings, Instagram and Facebook feeds, my business can really lag. I have developed a pattern now, where I choose a certain time of day and make sure to post or be active at that time!

How long does the average item take for you to create?

The average sterling silver and gemstone ring will take me several hours to design, but once I know what I want to create, the actual time to make it is usually 2-3 hours. I find that the sketching and mulling over of a design idea is a time consuming part. Once I have solved the problem or come up with creative idea, then execution of that idea comes together fairly fast. Of course, there are always a few pieces that can take a whole day!

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

I have a very small and joyful studio space that is connected to my house. It is only 9×11 feet in size and I pack a lot in there! I have two work benches set a different heights so that I sit at one and stand at the other. All my electrical equipment and my torch for jewelry-making are attached to these two benches. A floor to ceiling set of shelving lines one wall for shipping and packaging and my music system. My products are nicely set up in a little alcove to the side for clients to shop. I still manage to bring in a couple of lovely plants and have some great artwork on my colourful walls. My favourite aspect of my studio is that I have set up several bird feeders outside my big studio window and I have a pond out beyond those – what a view! How could this not bring joy to me as I work away creating jewelry?

Do you receive many custom orders and if so, how much input do clients have?

I think that the biggest reason for my success is my willingness to work on custom jewelry, largely driven by clients’ special requests. Even an Etsy inquiry as general as, “I saw this rounded triangular ring on my last trip to Latvia…could you make something like that?” will get my creativity flowing and I will try it out for a client with no expectation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it is not quite right, but the times that it is perfect and the client is thrilled, that makes it all worthwhile. I love to experiment and have no interest in mass production work, even though it is more financially feasible, so customized orders are my main business! I would say that customized and made-to-order account for half my business!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I am an avid bird-watcher and traveler with a passion for hiking in the American southwest. If I have a bit of free time during the week, I love to enjoy the wonderful forest tracts in York Region and will head out with a friend for a hike! I usually take my camera as there are almost always birds to see and capturing one or two on a hike makes the outing just perfect!

You can find Amanda’s gorgeous creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can follow her online!

Etsy: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/amandabrittin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amandajanebrittin
Instagram: @amandabrittin

Meet the Maker – Krista Kay Designs

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m 24 years old and married to a very supportive husband. I was born in Saskatchewan and will always be a prairie girl at heart. I’ve been making in one form or another since I was a child, from macaroni art to friendship bracelets to scrapbooking and card making and finally fibre arts. I went to school for advertising and marketing as well as event planning and now work full time in the incentive travel industry. My favourite colour is blue which shows up often in my work. I’ve very accident prone and I’m terrified of thunderstorms.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

A lot of my inspiration for new products comes from fashion magazines and Pinterest. I often think what I would wear or like in my home and start from there. Pinterest has been a great tool for finding beautiful colour combinations.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

Some of my favourite items in my store are the blankets I make because so much time and hard work goes into them. I love working on bigger projects like blankets because there is much more of a sense of satisfaction when it’s complete.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

When I’m trying out a new pattern design or new stitches I will often keep the tests for myself. This past year I’ve decided to start doing a few bigger projects like sweaters and other garments to expand on my skill and continue to learn new techniques. One of my yarn suppliers sells knitting kits with the yarn and pattern included for larger projects like these so I’ll be keeping those for myself.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love spending time in nature. Whether that is just sitting outside on a nice day, going for a walk/hike, camping or swimming, spending time in nature inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing. I also love to read, specifically chick lit or murder mystery. James Patterson is one of my favourite authors, I can never seem to put his books down.

My husband and I really enjoy watching movies, which has been great since it’s perfect knitting time for me!

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

I think the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner is constantly evolving with the times and seasons. Fashion and home style changes so you have to be open to coming up with new styles and designs. You have to be willing to try and fail in order to have that creative breakthrough. There is a lot of trial and error and that can be scary sometimes.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

I first learned to knit from my grandma one summer when she was visiting from Saskatchewan. I didn’t finish the dishcloth while she was visiting and had it half finished until I met my now husband. His nana re-taught me the basics and really sparked my interest in the craft. Most of my knitting and crochet skills are self-taught or have been learned by watching Youtube videos. Many hours of trial and error have gone into creating the products I make and only the best are put out for sale.

Books or Movies?

This is a tough one… I definitely prefer books over movies because there is so much more detail included in the story line but at the same time it gives the reader creative freedom to imagine the characters and the details as they wish. I love movies too but movies based on books that I’ve read often don’t hold up in comparison.

Find all of Krista’s cozy creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd or you can check her out online!

Etsy: www.kristakaydesigns.etsy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristakaydesigns
Instagram: @kristakaydesigns

Meet the Maker – Grey Jay Wearables

What’s better than having a friend that you can rely on? How about having one that you can bounce your ideas off of and even run a business with? Meet Katrina and Kristine of Grey Jay Wearables!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

Like the gray jay bird, we are a little wild but super friendly. If it’s the right food, we might even eat out of your hand:) We are into health, the environment, advocating for change, canoes, bikes, friends, flashy shoes, and crafting items that we believe people could benefit from in their daily lives. An interesting fact about us, (perhaps only to some) is that we often travel with a cooler. We are obsessed with obtaining copious amounts of takeout from restaurants that we just don’t have access to at home. When this is a priority, you plan ahead and go prepared. These birds love them some amazing fabric and spicy takeout!

How Does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

We have multiple facets to our work. We have reusables…these reflect our granola side. Why throw away plastic bags every five seconds when you can use fun, washable snack bags? We are always looking for ways to keep things natural and sustainable. All our kids were cloth diaper babies. We also have a wild (yet friendly) side…choosing bold, bright and fun fabrics for our skirts, hair ties and snack bags. What’s life without colour?

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

We are both really dedicated and involved with our kids. Family time is a priority. Leaving them for shows is tough but hanging out as friends, chatting with other artists, getting tons of takeout and meeting new customers makes it worthwhile. Our working days present and interesting challenge but they are the best. The kids hopefully play well while we drink way too much coffee, create and solve the world’s problems. Our goal is balance. Good parents are happy parents so we try our best to fit in the stuff that makes us happy and artistically satisfied. Plus, there’s always the hope that just maybe…we are pulling off some good role model action.

What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

Learning how to use our new tools. The screen printing gear took some getting used to. Finding the right pressure to produce great prints was tricky. Every time we change fabrics, we have to learn again. We also taught ourselves to use a serger…one of our most amazing tools. Intimidating at first, it has become our sewing go-to for all our garments and reusables.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I’m in love with the wrap skirts! They are comfy, versatile, flattering AND, shut the front door…they have pockets. Shazam! The fabrics to choose from are amazing, we go nuts trying to choose one over the other. We want to make a skirt out of all of them. I took mine on a beach vacation and it was the bomb. Light, small, packable and I could wear it as a wrap over swimmers or stand out in a crowd at dinner. The miniature version for children is just as awesome. Kids can wear it for years. It’s unique, fun and made with care and good times. They are all one of a kind and in our humble opinion, they totally rock.

Describe your work-space and your top tools are.

Our screen printing gear! Every time we do a print we marvel at the results. Pushing the ink through the screen onto the fabric is super satisfying. When we remove the screen after we run the squeegee across it, hand clapping usually ensues. We built our screen printing table by padding a beat up old work table and covering it with crisp fabric. Screen, ink, squeegee, designs…fabulous results.

Do you ever make anything for yourself?

Absolutely. We use and wear everything we make. We love it that much. You have to love what you create right? So often it’s hard to sell it, we want it all for ourselves:) The hair ties, skirts, cuff links and brooches are regular fashion items in both of our homes. The hankies, snack bags and food wraps literally get used everyday, often more than once. They fill our kids lunches and our own as well for long shifts that require lots of snacks. Every bag/purse has a hanky – they feel better and they just straight up make sense.

Find Kristine and Katrina’s whimsical creations at our Made in Canada Market on September 23, 2017 or check them out online.

Etsy: www.greyjaywearables.etsy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/greyjaywearables

Instagram: @greyjaywearables

Meet the Maker – Wildgrove Apothecary

Did you know that soap starts out as oil and water? The science behind soap making is fascinating and one that I love dearly (I used to be a soap maker..) I love how simple Elizabeth’s creations are – tapping into the goodness that mother nature has to offer! Read on to find out how Elizabeth started out!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I am fairly simple. I love being outdoors, dogs, and knitting.

Where did your business idea come from?

Like many people, my business developed from personal need. My skin is extremely sensitive to all the chemicals in modern skin care products. Even some well known ‘natural’ products would cause it to break out or became red and irritated. So I created my first products–the Lavender and Frankincense moisturizer and cleanser–out of pure desperation. When I saw the changes to my skin after using them for a few weeks, I started making it for family and friends. And, my business grew from there.

How does your work reflect your personality and overall approach to life?

I am a nature-loving, simple, organic type of person and my products reflect that fully. They are 100% natural, organic and made with simple and pure ingredients.

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What would you say has been your biggest learning curve since beginning your business?

My biggest learning curve since starting my business has been social media. Being visible on social media does not come naturally for me, so learning what and where to post has been a deep learning experience.

Where do you get inspiration for developing new products?

My inspiration comes from two places; family and friends, and the plants themselves. When a friend or family member approaches me with some kind of health or skin issue, I start playing around in the kitchen trying to come up with an effective remedy or recipe. My friends call it “Kitchen Witching”, because it usually involves a lot of herbs, a mortar and pestle and great smelling essential oils. For example, I formulated my Hot Flush products after a friend approached me because she wanted relief from the discomfort of hot flashes. My Healing Skin Balm was devised for a friend suffering from eczema. My Honey, Lavender and Frankincense Cleanser and Moisturizer duo were designed for me, who has hyper sensitive, aging, yet prone-to-breakout skin. The second way I receive inspiration is from the plants themselves. As I discover more and more about their amazing healing gifts, I devise products designed to showcase these medicinal uses. For example, I’m working on a soap made from nettles, which is amazing for inflamed, irritated skin so it would be great for people with rashes, eczema, or psoriasis.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It depends on the product. Soap can take a few hours to make, but then takes 4-6 weeks to cure. My lotions and balms can me made in an hour or two.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

My faves change depending on my needs. Right now I’m having trouble sleeping, so I am in love with my Dream Cream. It’s a body butter that has been formulated using essential oils renowned for their relaxing and sedating qualities. Using it just before bed helps me sleep soundly.

What is the story behind your business name?

That is a good question. I wanted something that represented what I did and what I valued, so it had to be a name that made reference to the woods or forest as so many of my materials come from trees and plants. The apothecary part came from what I was doing with these plants–taking them from nature and formulating them into products that nourish and heal.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love getting out of the city and heading to the cottage. A walk in the forest or swim in the lake, always rejuvenates me. At home, when I can’t get away for any extended period, I love walking my dogs in the wooded ravine by my house.

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Any advice for a new Handcrafted Maker who is setting up a shop?

Just keep going, one step at a time. It will definitely seem daunting and feel overwhelming at times, but just keep moving forward one task at a time. Oh….and make sure you use tags…

What is your bestselling item? Why do you think it is the most popular?

My Healing Skin Balm is my best selling item. It’s popular because it works. It’s rich and creamy, smells great and helps ease the discomfort of eczema or psoriasis. I love to put it on my feet at night. When I wake up in the morning, my feet feel fantastic!

Do you do this full time? If not, how do you balance your day?

No, I am a full time high school teacher. I balance my day by taking advantage of my evenings and weekends, as well as any time off. Summer vacation, Christmas and March Break are all times I work crazily on my business. During the school year, it’s weekends and evenings.

What has been the most challenging aspect of being a creative business owner?

For me, the most challenging aspects of being a creative business owner has been social media. I am fairly shy and introverted by nature, so being visible on social media has been a struggle. I am learning though.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

Both. I take lot of classes on herbalism and plant medicine making, as well as aromatherapy, but my products themselves are often trial and error. Even though I might have the right formulation of plant and herbs, I sometimes have to experiment with the best way to get it onto the skin, whether it should be a lotion, salve, cleanser, balm, etc.

Find all of Elizabeth’s concoctions at our Made in Canada Market on September 23rd, or follow her online channels!

Website: www.wildgroveapothecary.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildgroveapothecary

Instagram: @wildgrove_apothecary

Meet the Maker – ThreadXLove

We’re thrilled to have Stephanie from ThreadXLove as a Vendor for our upcoming #MadeinCanada Market! Read on to discover more about Stephanie and her cheeky threads 😉

Please tell us a bit about yourself and one interesting fact.

I’m a special education teacher and new mom to a beautiful baby girl. Crafting has always been a hobby, but Thread X Love was built from my love for creating custom pieces for the people I love!

How do you balance parenthood with your business?

I started Thread x Love as a part time Etsy shop before kids. I’m a full time special education teacher, but I would stitch in the evenings to relax and unwind. In September we welcomed our beautiful baby girl and my time to stitch has definitely changed! When she was tiny she loved to nap splayed across my lap and I would actually stitch with her there. These days she is a baby on the move so my crafting supplies are always safely tucked away and my stitching time has definitely become shorter! I’m still an evening stitcher, and still use it to relax and unwind at the end of the day.

How long does the average item take for you to create?

It’s easy for people who have cross-stitched before to understand the amount of work that goes into each piece. A more simple piece will usually take me about 4-6 hours to complete. More complex and detailed pieces will often take me 15-20 hours to finish. I break that apart over several days, but I often get “sucked in” to a piece and loose track of time! My eyes and back will often be the reason I have to take a break.

Do you have a favourite item in your store?

I love all of my pieces!! My favourite pieces to make are customized ones – the family and wedding portraits are such a fun challenge. I have loved capturing pets and children and wedding details. The idea of something I made hanging on people’s walls and bringing them joy is the ultimate reward for my hard work.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My family cottage is what I call my “happy place”. It is a long three hour drive north of our home in Newmarket, but the minute I get out of the car I feel completely at peace. Luckily my husband loves it as much as I do, and now we are having so much fun watching our daughter enjoy the cottage life as well. Stitching at the cottage with a huge cup of coffee (or glass of wine!) is pretty much my idea of the perfect day.

Did you take classes to learn the skills you utilize or are these self taught practices of trial and error?

My mom taught me to cross stitch as a kid. During rainy summer days at the cottage she would my brother and I sewing, cross stitching, rug hooking, quilting, and all kinds of other crafts: I loved those days so much!

When I was recovering from back surgery about ten years ago I decided to pick cross stitching back up again to pass the time stuck in bed. I fell back in love again and haven’t put the needle back down since! After making pieces for friends and loved ones, everyone encouraged me to start selling them on Etsy.

You can find Stephanie in person at the Made in Canada Market or check her out online!

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/ThreadxLove

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThreadxLove

Instagram: @thread_x_love

Made In Canada 2017 Announced!

It’s an exciting day here at York Maker’s Headquarters! Our team is thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Etsy York Region to host their 2nd Annual Made in Canada Market!

We are returning to the beautiful Aurora Cultural Centre – but this year, we have more space & much more for you to see and do at the market!

This year we are featuring a DIY Maker Space where some of our makers will be hosting hands-on workshops so you can learn a new hobby! We have more space this year which means even more handcrafted goodies for you to discover!

Follow along on our Facebook Page or Instagram Channel to get updates and vendor sneek peeks and make sure you RSVP your attendance and share our FB Event page!!

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